KIKU-TV will be at the Filipino Fiesta tomorrow (Saturday, May 14)! Please come visit our booth and take a picture with Giselle Tongi from Kababayan Today! Or, spin our prize wheel for a special gift! The Filipino Fiesta takes place from 9am to 5pm at Kapiolani Park. See you there!
One of the most popular drama series on KIKU is Doctors (Saikyou no Meii). We just began airing the third season of this series this past Monday at 8pm.
Some would say that the show’s popularity is due to the handsome actor, Ikki Sawamura, who stars as the highly principled and capable Dr. Sagara. Dr. Sagara is employed at Dogami General Hospital, a private facility that is struggling to regain its integrity amid a reputation of greed and corrupt management practices. Dr. Sagara’s nemesis at the hospital is the director’s nephew, Dr. Suguru Moriyama, played by actor Masanobu Takashima. The two are constantly at odds over hospital practices and patient treatments.
In my opinion, Masanobu Takashima is the real star of the show. He plays an immature, self-centered, spoiled doctor yearning for attention and acknowledgment. He’s such a good actor because each episode makes you hate Dr. Moriyama and his selfish tactics even more. But you also see a vulnerable side to him that makes him likeable, too.
What do you think? Do you love him or hate him?
One of the most popular and most requested series on KIKU is coming back for a third season: Doctors 3. Once again, the handsome, kind, and capable Dr. Sagara will have to use his subtle (and sometimes devious) skills to make things happen at Dogami General Hospital, especially when dealing with his nemesis, the ambitious and egotistical Dr. Moriyama.
Doctors 3 begins Monday, March 21, at 8pm. There are nine episodes in this series. The Japanese title is Saikyou no Meii.
This Thursday, 2/4, we begin a new series titled Truth of Zero at 9pm. It is about a brilliant but socially inept medical examiner named Mao Matsumoto. Mao is a genius with an IQ of 150, but she is so absorbed in the world of forensic medicine that she has no friends, and no interest in food, fashion, or dating. Her fellow medical examiners and team of detectives must figure out a way to get through to this oddball who is only concerned about her work. The Japanese title for this series is Zero no Shinjitsu.
Also, the second year of Behind the Noren is about to begin! We have been re-airing the first series on Tuesday nights at 9pm, but now that we are in between taiga dramas, Behind the Noren is also airing at 8pm on Tuesday nights.
The first half hour of Behind the Noren 2 will air on Sunday, 2/14, from 9:30-10pm. From the next week on, it’ll air as a full hour on Sunday nights from 9-10pm.
In year 2 of Behind the Noren, a new rival to become the proprietress of the inn appears. When Naoko’s husband Shosuke disappears once again, his mother Shino sends Naoko to Taiwan to bring him back. While she is gone, Shino’s niece Yukiko appears to help out at the inn, and she becomes Naoko’s strongest rival for the position. The Japanese title for this series is Hanayome Noren.
Last week, we aired the 50th and final episode of Hana Moyu, which was NHK’s 54th Taiga drama. Many viewers have called or emailed asking for information about the next Taiga drama.
The 55th Taiga drama is titled Sanada Maru. It is about the life of Yukimura Sanada, who is considered one of Japan’s last great commanders of the Sengoku — or warring — period. Yukimura’s actual name was Nobushige, and he was born to an exceptionally intelligent father, Masayuki Sanada, who was himself considered a great military strategist.
The Sengoku period lasted from 1467-1603 and was a time of great political turbulence, social upheaval, and almost constant military battles. Eventually, three warlords emerged as key figures in unifying Japan and ending the warring period: Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Sanada Yukimura was aligned with Toyotomi, and led the defense of Toyotomi’s stronghold, Osaka Castle, against the much larger forces of Tokugawa. Sanada built a fortress on the periphery of Osaka Castle which came to be known as Sanada Maru. In the Siege of Osaka, the fortress was impenetrable, which helped solidify Sanada’s legendary status. He has been called “a hero who may appear once in a hundred years”.
Sanada Maru begins on Tuesday, February 16, at 8pm.
KIKU is available in HD! And…just in time for the Red and White Song Contest! We do not have an HD channel on the Oceanic Time Warner or Hawaiian Telecom cable systems yet, but if you receive KIKU over the air, we are broadcasting in HD on channel 20.2!
Happy New Year!
We have a great line-up of programs coming up for New Year’s week.
It all begins with the 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen, the Red and White Song Contest, on Friday, January 1st. Kohaku takes place in Japan on New Year’s eve, but our tradition at KIKU is to air it on New Year’s night from 5-10pm. We will be doing that again this year, and re-airing it the following day, on Saturday, January 2nd, from 11am-4pm. So if you miss any part of Kohaku on New Year’s night, you can sit back on Saturday to watch what you missed. Or, watch the entire program again.
For the last three years, the white (or boys) team has prevailed. This year, the captain of the white team will be Yoshihiko Inohara, a member of the V6 group. On the red (girls) side, for the second year in a row, the captain will be Haruka Ayase, star of the 2013 taiga drama, Yae no Sakura. You can bet Haruka will be pulling out all the stops to get the red team to win this year.
There are two specials airing the night of Saturday, January 2nd. At 7pm, we have Big Guys With One Dish Tour #2. (We aired Big Guys With One Dish Tour #1 this past September.) The “big guys” are Hidehiko Ishizuka, star of the Fat Detective, and sumo master Furiwake. The two guys play an eating game while exploring the Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa. Whoever wins gets to eat the special foods of the area to their heart’s delight, while the loser must be satisfied with a tiny, tiny morsel. This show is hilarious.
At 8:30pm, we are airing Journey to the Moon, a love story that takes place at a train station. Ryota works at a publishing house and was in Gifu to meet with an author. He misses his train for the return trip home, and notices a blind woman in the waiting area. They strike up a conversation and Ryota eventually learns the woman was there waiting for someone. This is a bittersweet love story filled with symbolism.
On Sunday, January 3rd, there is a movie titled My Home, My Town airing from 8-10pm. This stars handsome Osamu Mukai as Ippo Sakuragi, a young man whose job involves lending support to lonely clients with emotional scars. The irony is that Ippo himself bears scars from when his father walked out on the family 20 years ago. What happens when Ippo’s family is unexpectedly reunited?
From Monday, January 4th, to Thursday, January 7th, we are resting Soko ga Shiritai in order to air special New Year’s programs from 7-8pm.
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, we will be airing a three-part Madame Butterfly special. The passion of Puccini’s opera is given new life in this TV drama about a young woman named Cho-Cho who struggles to maintain a respectable life following the death of her samurai father. After her supportive stepmother passes away, Cho-Cho is left with no resources, and is forced to become a geisha. Eventually, she meets an American naval officer, whom she marries. And although it would appear the tragedy of her life is over, that is not the case. Madame Butterfly stars the beautiful Aoi Miyazaki as Cho-Cho.
Monday at 8pm, we are airing Justice is Blind. This is a two hour drama based on a true story about a blind attorney who is driven by his desire to help the weak. Clients question Kensuke Okouchi’s ability to represent them effectively because of his handicap, but his intelligence and intuitiveness prove them wrong.
Tuesday, January 5th, the taiga drama Hana Moyu will air from 7-8pm. This will be followed by a 2-1/2 hour Chushingura special. This version of the famous 47 ronin story stars Masakazu Tamura as Kuranosuke Oishi and Tetsuji Tamayama as Takuminokami Asano.
Wednesday night, traditionally our Mystery Theatre night, we are airing The Last Witness. This is a drama about a former prosecutor who left public service to open his own private practice specializing in criminal cases. One day, a businessman asks Sadato Sakata to defend him. The businessman is accused of murdering a woman he was having an affair with. The crime appears open and shut: fingerprints, bloodstains, and security camera footage all point to the businessman as being guilty. But the businessman insists he is innocent, and Sadato’s intuition leads him to believe him and accept the case.
Finally, on Thursday, January 7th, we are airing Risking It All: Orange from 8-10pm. This drama is about the fire department’s Special Rescue Team, the men in orange uniforms. Only three percent of firefighters qualify to join this elite team, and must undergo rigorous training to be accepted in to Orange. The training is so harsh trainees themselves question the purpose and necessity. That is, until they learn how many lives were lost following the Great Hanshin Earthquake because rescue teams were ill-prepared to deal with the disaster. The desire to not repeat past mistakes is what drives Orange.
Here is the complete list of specials, along with original Japanese titles:
Friday, 1/1/16 5-10pm 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen
Saturday, 1/2/16 11am-4pm 66th Annual Kohaku Utagassen Retelecast
Saturday, 1/2/16 7-8:30pm Big Guys With One Dish Tour (Ishi-chan to Furiwake Oyakata no Toriwake Tabi)
Saturday, 1/2/16 8:30-10pm Journey to the Moon (Tsuki ni Yuku Fune)
Sunday, 1/3/16 7-8pm Hana Moyu, episode #47
Sunday, 1/3/16 8-10pm My Home, My Town (Waga ie)
Monday, 1/4/16 12N-2pm My Home, My Town Retelecast
Monday, 1/4/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 1 (Chou-Chou San)
Monday, 1/4/16 8-10pm Justice is Blind (Moumoku no Boku ga Bengoshi ni Natta Riyuu)
Tuesday, 1/5/16 12N-2pm Justice is Blind Retelecast
Tuesday, 1/5/16 7-8pm Hana Moyu, episode #48
Tuesday, 1/5/16 8-10:30pm Chushingura
Wednesday, 1/6/16 12N-2:30pm Chushingura Retelecast
Wednesday, 1/6/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 2
Wednesday, 1/6/16 8-10pm The Last Witness (Saigo no Shonin)
Thursday, 1/7/16 12N-2pm The Last Witness Retelecast
Thursday, 1/7/16 7-8pm Madame Butterfly, Pt. 3
Thursday, 1/7/16 8-10pm Risking It All: Orange (Inochigakede Tatakatta Shoboushi no Monogatari)
Friday, 1/8/16 12N-2pm Risking It All: Orange Retelecast
We hope you enjoy our New Year’s specials!
I have a great neighbor. His name is Horace and he does things like bring in my trash can so it’s not sitting on the curb all day while I’m away at work. He also makes homemade snacks for my dogs, and shares vegetables from his garden with me. But one of the best things he does is give me feedback about KIKU. He loved The Fat Detective. And Doctors and Doctor X. In fact, he likes practically all of the dramas we air on KIKU.
But his feedback this morning was a little different: “Hey, you gotta get some new shows!”
Although we are airing new shows, like Mother Class, Hanamoyu, Mystery Theatre, Japan’s Local Secrets, and The Emperor’s Chef right now, Horace is right. This is the time of year when we also air a number of reruns. So I thought I should explain to you — as I did to Horace — why.
KIKU airs a whole week of new, special programs each New Year’s week. Our translators, our subtitlors, and our entire staff are busy getting ready for New Year’s week in the month of December. Airing shows in December that have already been translated and subtitled allows us to focus and work on the New Year’s specials and new shows coming in January and February.
And there are a lot of new shows coming in January and February. In addition to the New Year’s specials, there are three new dramas starting in January, and four new dramas starting in February, including the new Taiga drama, Sanada Maru, and the second season of Behind the Noren!
I hope you all are lucky enough to have a kind, generous, and honest neighbor like Horace.
Can you believe the year is almost over? In three weeks it will be Christmas and one week after that, it will be 2016!
We have our 2016 New Year’s specials in place and are already working on translating and subtitling them. The star of the specials is Kohaku, the annual Red and White Song Contest. This year will be the 66th anniversary of Kohaku! That in itself is amazing.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be telling you more about our New Year’s specials, as well as three new dramas that will begin in January. There is a lot that will be happening in 2016. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what’s to come!
I had an opportunity to attend the grand opening performance of Allegiance on Broadway last Sunday night. This is the musical inspired by the true life experience of George Takei, who also stars in the show. As a child, Takei and his family were relocated to an internment camp following the attack on Pearl Harbor. His memories of that experience form the basis of Allegiance.
My great grandparents, grandparents, and parents lived in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Fortunately, they were not relocated to any internment camp. But I know they experienced some form of doubt about their loyalty in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
And this is what is at the heart of Allegiance: loyalty. The war forced Japanese American people to choose loyalties. And those choices or non-choices tore people and families apart.
If you are traveling to New York, I urge you to see Allegiance. It is such an important story about the Japanese American experience that is relevant to everyone, no matter what your ethnic background.